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Grateful Dead Live at Capitol Theater on 1971-02-18




Set 1

Bertha, Truckin', It Hurts Me Too, Loser, Greatest Story Ever Told-> Johnny B. Goode, Mama Tried, Hard To Handle, Dark Star-> Wharf Rat-> Dark Star-> Me & My Uncle

Set 2

Casey Jones, Playin' In The Band, Me And Bobby McGee, Candyman, Big Boss Man, Sugar Magnolia, Saint Stephen-> Not Fade Away-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Not Fade Away-> Uncle John's Band

Mickey's last show until 10-20-74 - E.S.P. show - Other artist(s): NRPS


Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Capitol Theater
Location Port Chester, NY

Source SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat (44.1k)
Lineage Dat (Sony R500) -> Tascam SS-R05 -> Adobe Audition v3.0 -> Samplitude Professional v11.2 -> FLAC
Transferred by Charlie Miller

Notes

Notes:
-- This is a huge upgrade to all previously circulating sources
-- This is not from the same betty board reels that have circulated since 1986
-- Thanks to David Gans for lending me his Dats
-- Thanks to Joe B. Jones for his help with the pitch correction

Reviews

Reviewer: Mind Wondrin - - March 24, 2015
Subject: More interesting than the more-famous following night?
1st night of an historically revered 6-day run at Westchester county venue Capitol Theater (right on the Connecticut border). This was the last time the band booked at this vaudeville-built theater, after 13 performances there the previous year. Must have been sad when this small, ornate room was no longer feasible, from '72 on.

This show attracts interest for 3 reasons:
+the premiering, in rudimentary versions, of 3 1/2 new songs that would become classics (they were excited enough to replay these each night)
+being the show were Mickey decided to tell the boys he was leaving - his next show after this being in Oct '74
+The 1st (oldest) Betty Board

Because the following night (premieres of Bird Song and Deal) is represented on Three from the Vault it may be more familiar, but this show is at least as good. This is one of those runs where everybody has their favorite but for then-unexpected turns, and the classic drum sound on these early versions, this would be the interesting night (and since they were carting around an 8track machine for the makings of the Skull Fuck LP, shouldn't there be another vault release from this run?). The end of the run is more accomplished (try the 21st) but this show is sought for historical appeal.

Bertha - you gotta ask - how did it come off so well? Or maybe, why didn't they nail new songs in the 90s as quickly as in '71??
Loser - Sounds different with Pig on vox. It would be released on Garcia's solo LP a year later
Greatest Story - Still in brief form
Johnny B - They had premiered this a couple weeks earlier (but everybody plays this at band practices and such)
Wharf - premiered in the middle of a Dark Star - started as a one chord drone and remained that way (though it wouldn't sound like this after Feb), so not a lot could be done with this song, but on this version it's the tranny back to Dahk Stah where things get cool (an excerpt of this one is on So Many Roads as "Beautiful Jam").
St Stephen - Isn't this the final shot from Mickey's toy cannon?
Not Fade>UJB - Check this tranny

Collectible because, though there are not any single standout A+ versions, the show is interesting for context. So, while not for new converts, it's solid enough to not be for historical-collectors-only. 1st set above average for '71, 2nd set typical for '71.
Set 1: B-
Set 2: C
Overall - 3 stars (2 1/2 plus 1/2 for historical interest)

Highlights:
Dark Star>Wharf>Dark Star>Uncle - Unusual 1st set sequence creates a changng atmosphere
Candyman - A great version. There was a period where the band could harmonize

Sources: 4 SBD sources to pick from. This is another classic show that came into broader circulation in '96 at the tail of the cassette age, and then to wider awareness with the "What became of the Betty Boards" project in the CD age, which resourced from the Betty>DAT transfer. These WBOTBB sources often come with unusually detailed lineage descriptions ("I plugged into the wall outlet using the overhand method and here is the metallic composition of the joist hangers in that wall"), I guess for the pedigree geeks amongst us (and Golden Ear claimants). The Port Chester (pronounced like Dorchester) run represents the earliest complete Bettys and, with modern digital tools, intermodular distortion and frequency anomalies can be zeroed in and excised without nasty degradation within the shoulders of those spectra; gotta love those narrow notch filters! The earliest circulating fragments from this show, in the late 80s, were low gen with noise, transient peak and pitch problems - just like most of the stuff we listened to in the 80s! How lucky we are to have the show underneath revealed. Three sources have dealt with those anomalies with slightly different digital tools and though they all sound great, albeit with resulting different sonic characteristics, I'm going with the Miller for best dynamics overall. 85478 & the Orf source don't offer the stereo image I like. Though the latter should be the most accurate technically, the Miller111793 has the more comfortable, puts-you-there full sound with just the right amount of EQ and separation, even though it may not address every crackle and squelch.

tl;dr: The Miller sounds amazing & nothing like the fragments that circulated all those years ago that tainted much of '71!
Reviewer: MR.SUNSHINE - - August 3, 2014
Subject: Keyboards
Pigpen is not the guy playing the tinkling beautiful keys on the Dark Star sandwich, the real person playing is Ned Lagin and he is playing the Clavichord. Though pigpen was there and may have added precussion or acoustic piaino, harmonica and maybe inaudible organ
Reviewer: Go Faster, Get Rounder - - September 9, 2013
Subject: CREAM of the CREAM of the CREAM
They had taken about a month and half off since the end of 1970 -- a monster year -- and balls to the wall just blasted into 6 new songs -- Bertha just SMOKES and the Dark Star --> Wharf Rat (1st) --> Dark Star includes "Beautiful Jam" which truly is both beautiful and amazing.

The energy of this show is just UNREAL.

And this is the version you want to listen to -- Charlie Miller -- he just makes everything sound so much better than anyone else -- and he is a really great guy for sharing his efforts with all of us.

Oh the MIX, the MIX . . . . let's just say it ain't horrible. Just great fidelity and a truly great mix-- absolutely everyone comes through completely clearly-- just about as good a mix as anything you will hear -- and AMAZING fidelity for such an old show.

DO NOT MISS THIS ONE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES -- OTHER GRATEFUL DEAD STUFF IS AS GOOD, BUT CONSIDERING THIS SHOW START TO END, IT JUST DOESN'T GET BETTER.

An absolute dream for all of us old cassette tape collectors to have this kind of stuff available.

From the Vault Volume 3 was the next night. Why, oh why, haven't they done this night too???????????

Just everything in this show is just totally slamming.

Dick's Picks Vol. 11 was Sept. 27, 1972 -- Stanley Theater, Jersey City. Freaking Amazing. But, why, oh why, haven't they done September 28, 1972, Stanley Theater, Jersey City too????????

Nevermind-- just listen to this -- it is a religious experience . . . .

Read Evan S. Hunt's review below -- he knows his stuff and said it much better than I did.
Reviewer: cd bodhi - - August 22, 2013
Subject: time machine
Here ya go: http://www.thecapitoltheatre.com/event/338701-dose-dead-2-18-71-capitol-port-chester/

"Oh, that's just gorgeous.... Aw, that, that --- I'm sorry, that just, that brought tears to my eyes."
Reviewer: harlemtripster - - August 21, 2013
Subject: mindblowing!!!
if only i had a time machine!!!! words do no justice, just listen n enjoy
Reviewer: chris phillips - - May 13, 2013
Subject: Port Chester Rocks
Other than Dark Star what really grabs me from 2/18 is the fantastic Sugar Magnolia.
Reviewer: doug_the_dude - - February 18, 2013
Subject: --
All right, I'll be "that guy" and stand up on my hind legs as a minority voice of dissent here. It seems like a lot of people are bowled over by the historic nature of the show, not the performance itself. I've never succumbed to that kind of voodoo and, while there are some great moments throughout, I just can't ignore this nagging need to want to grab the band's cage and really rattle it.

Set 1 has some of the best highlights - the messy, exciting Bertha absolutely smolders, and the wooden-guitar Greatest Story > JBG is another hot ticket. The DS > WR > DS > Uncle has been written about so often I think there isn't much more to add - it's a true-blue classic jam and just *essential* Dead listening.

The rest of the set either suffers from feedback (Truckin') or a rather indifferent band at the helm, or a combination of the two.

Set 2 - One lone recommendation here: Sugar Magnolia. The band suddenly feels like they've been electrified by some kind of Martian zap-gun - totally and completely awesome.

But again, the rest is just kind of blah...if it doesn't gel it isn't aspic, and I like sticking with the great of this rather than forcing it. To each his own on this one, yo -

...and as always, thank you to Mr. Miller for the upgrade - sounds much better than I remember it from years past -
Reviewer: obie191970 - - December 28, 2012
Subject: Firsts -
Should be noted that this show is the first Bertha, Greatest, Loser, Playin and Wharf Rat. Add the beautiful jam to that and I'm amazing this rocking show doesn't get more attention. Thanks for the upgrade Charlie - It sounds fantastic.
Reviewer: barreramusic - - July 11, 2012
Subject: Great upgrade, Mr. Miller!
Thank you, this is a great upgrade copy for this great show!
Reviewer: Evan S. Hunt - - February 19, 2012
Subject: Yes, They Really Played This Fast
Just listen to the timbre of Garcia's vocals on the opening song Bertha.

Back in 71 the GD played a song like Bertha with all dispatch. They were still somewhat in 1969 mode. Later in the 90's the band had slowed Bertha down. I much prefer this peppier version.

The organ you hear on this is Ron McKiernan aka Pigpen. This is the six man power band they had become when Mickey joined in 1967. After this night they were the five man power band of old once again. It lasted until the fall when Keith was asked to join.

Pigpen had gotten the hint from the band that he needed to buck up on his organ playing and had attempted to improve himself as a keyboardist. It was too little too late. When they started out as the Warlocks Pig's keys consisted of the newly marketed Vox organ which was relatively easy to play. When the GD invited T.C. to play keys it ignominiously relegated Pig to playing congas.

Garcia later admitted that he was impetuously wrong about dismissing Pig as a "too predictable" organist. He was not, but he was not as good as T.C. and so he took a back seat.

Finally, in Feb of 70, T.C. bowed out gracefully and left the keyboard spot to Pigpen. Ron tried very hard to learn the Hammond B-3 and actually did a pretty passable job on it until his fade-out in 1972. The B-3 is a challenge.

I absolutely adore the lengthy tuneups between songs which were the earmark of their early days. It lent a breathiness to their sets that became nonexistent when they morphed into the quintessential "orchestra" band of the 90's. Ah, you may like ballpark rock, but give me the small movie theater any day. ANY day.

This is a wonderfully exempliary foray into the funky excellence of all things Grateful Dead.

This show is beautifully recorded and presented. The performances are lively and innovative.

20 out of 5 stars.
Reviewer: njpg - - February 18, 2012
Subject: This has a famous jam in it,
and the show is generally awesome. Some of the best sound I've heard too. Usual '71 plethora of cowboy songs.
Reviewer: grateful greensky - - February 8, 2012
Subject: one show down and another to go...
had this show but this Mr.Charlie Miller upgrade is well worth ''getting'' again 3 stars for show 5 for sound,so 4 overall. Grateful!!!
Reviewer: reviewr - - January 22, 2012
Subject: Historic, Not Great
This is Hart's last show for a few years and there are several "first time" songs, but that does not make a great show.

The jam out of Wharf Rat is awesome, and the rest of the first set is really good (minus Mama Tried).

Set 2 is only average until NFA> GDTRFB> NFA and Uncle John's.
Reviewer: rschwz28 - - November 16, 2011
Subject: Thank you Charlie
I'm only up to Truckin' but I know this is a five star performance by the band and Charlie Miller.

This is the last year of top-shelf Grateful Dead - Ron's last year of good health. And his organ is certainly a 'notable presence' on Truckin'.

Is that Pigpen's keyboard on Casey Jones (and elsewhere)? I'm starting to become suspect of that electric piano!
Reviewer: westech - - May 1, 2011
Subject: Did they really play this fast?
Love this era of the Dead especially the growl/bite/edge to Garcia's guitar. But as I listen to Bertha, I am wondering if this recording is running a tad fast or did they really play at that frenetic of a pace in '71. Heck there is an edge to the entire band, just listening to the sheer energy of Truckin'.

This entire run of Port Chester shows is great listening. Pig Pen still a notable presence on the organ. From a historical perspective well worh a listen. 5 out of 5 stars
Reviewer: Pangolin22 - - February 25, 2011
Subject: Historic Show
So many classic Dead tunes introduced.
The show for me was a bit hit and miss but overall it's high energy and compact (few lengthy jams). Probably a great place to start someone new to the Dead.
The GSET is interesting and was obviously a work in progress. The DS>Wharf Rat>DS is beautiful - don't let the shortness of this DS fool you, they take it into space and back.
Reviewer: gratefulhoneynoats - - February 18, 2011
Subject: Damn Charlie Miller
Everytime I see that name I know the recording's gonna be the best I can find. Do you plan on posting the rest of the run at any time? I'm always happy to hear your beautiful skills providing me with beautiful music all the time.
Reviewer: Frey Voigt - - February 18, 2011
Subject: 2-18-71 - 2-18-11 40 years ago today.
Today is the 40th anv. of the Capitol Theater shows in Port Chester N.Y. 1st Bertha, Playing in the band, Greatest story. And check out the Dark Star> Wharf Rat> Dark Star, also known as the Beautiful Jam. (1st Wharf Rat). Charlie Miller has just put one of his masterpieces of this show on the archive. (Also last show for Mickey Hart for over 3 years)
Tx, Fat Man. R.I.P.
Reviewer: Mrblazer15 - - February 18, 2011
Subject: dark star
this is the first time I have seen a dark star wharf rat sandwich. It actually works really nicely!
Reviewer: CharlieMiller - - February 12, 2011
Subject: Source
Don't worry, I do have the complete run from the same source.
Reviewer: Scottdead - - February 11, 2011
Subject: Very nice Upgrade !
My 3rd show - 1st I had the raw sound board and thought it was great then I had the DE-whined patched version of the sound board and thought it was great - but this is just wonderful - would be great if the rest of this run had the same source and sounded as good as this does. Once again Mr. Miller produces the definitive version of a show!
Reviewer: Jack o' Roses - - February 7, 2011
Subject: Thanks *Again* Dr. Miller
Has someone bestowed a PhD to Charlie yet? There's more than a dissertation's worth of work on the Dead part of IA alone!

Excellent show, Better sound-ESP show! I can see the chakras spinning whenever I listen to this show.

Thanks to the PTB & for PiTB. Hope others enjoy as much as I am!
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